SYDNEY (AP) Eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt will trial for six weeks with the Central Coast Mariners from next month in a deal which could see him play for a season in Australian football’s A-League.
Australian football agent Tony Rallis said Monday a “deal between the Mariners and Usain Bolt in principle has been agreed, subject to a couple of benchmarks.”
Rallis said it would be necessary for the 31-year-old Bolt to trial and for Football Federation Australia to support his salary.
“Once the FFA comes back and says that they’ll be part of the process, we’re going to the trial,” Rallis said.
Bolt has a long-held ambition to play professional football and, since his retirement from the track, has trialed with Germany’s Borussia Dortmund and Stromsgodset in Norway.
“If he’s competitive, he will lift our A-League profile,” Rallis said. “He will create dreams for young people and he will give the A-League a profile no amount of money can buy. This bloke’s an ambitious athlete. The A-League needed a hero and we got superman.”
Rallis said the owner of the Mariners would guarantee 70 percent of his salary and the FFA would be expected to fund the remainder.
Mariners chief executive Shaun Mielekamp said there was still a lot of work to do and a trial was imperative to determine Bolt’s skill level.
“It would only be big if he can play and if he can go really, really well,” he said. “Beause if he comes and he’s not up to the level then it actually has a detrimental effect.
“But if he comes and he’s as good as our reports are saying that he can be, then that would be very exciting and I’m sure that this stadium would be pretty full every time he put the boots on.”